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TWM Solicitors combines data mobility, migration and protection seamlessly with Zerto

TWM Solicitors combines data mobility, migration and protection seamlessly with Zerto

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UK-based, TWM Solicitors, provides a wide range of legal services to individuals, businesses and other organisations. The business’s need for fast, easy and reliable disaster recovery (DR) led them to partner with Zerto to protect its data and servers. Alan Barrett, Head of IT at TWM Solicitors, explains how the company is now able to recover from any event in a few clicks, which saves time for its IT team. 

At TWM Solicitors, its IT department needs to ensure applications are up and running 24/7. Lawyers are working around the clock and need to access case-related documents to meet the needs and deadlines of their clients. If they aren’t able to access their data, the results would be catastrophic for their clients. Additionally, in today’s world, they need a solution that allows them to safely work remotely.

Using its existing solution, it would take TWM Solicitors weeks to rebuild its environment, including exchange servers and critical document management systems. The company’s need for fast, easy and reliable Disaster Recovery (DR) led it to partner with Zerto to protect its data and servers.

Before Zerto, TWM Solicitors faced the risk of ransomware attacks and had no clear Disaster Recovery processes in place to ensure it could recreate its complex environment in the event of any disruptions. The platform’s continuous data protection provided TWM Solicitors with simple, fast recovery with recovery point objectives of seconds and recovery time objectives of minutes.

TWM Solicitors moved to a hybrid cloud DR model with Zerto to support its recent shift from primarily on-premises–based operations to increasingly remote-based. In addition to the faster, more granular recovery, the hybrid cloud approach allows it the flexibility to move applications and add capacity on demand to optimise for remote working.

With limited IT staff, TWM Solicitors needed a solution that was simple to deploy and use that required minimal maintenance. With Zerto, the TWM Solicitors IT team has been able to reallocate time to more productive tasks. Additionally, it is now able to recover from any event in a few clicks, which saves its IT team time.

“Prior to having Zerto, I would’ve had to literally run a backup, restore, backup, restore. It probably would’ve taken me two to three days restoring and configuring. Prior to that, I probably would’ve had to spend up to a week to be fully operational again,” said Alan Barrett, Head of IT at TWM Solicitors.

In the future, TWM Solicitors hopes to use Zerto to move more workloads into the cloud while utilising the platform’s continuous Disaster Recovery. The Zerto platform will help make future TWM Solicitors’ data migrations seamless.

Zerto was able to help TWM Solicitors meet its demands for continuous backup for better Disaster Recovery, and the future of backup is moving toward continuous backups instead of periodic.

Alan Barrett, Head of IT at TWM Solicitors, told Intelligent SME.tech more about the solution and how it has helped TWM Solicitors.

How simple was the Zerto solution to deploy and how much maintenance is required?

Any solution that you install within your infrastructure, that will cause a paradigm shift in how you approach your DR and BC, is always going to be allocated a serious amount of time. It is important that you get it right – to stress test it to ensure that the product can deliver the intended results and will prove to be reliable when you really need it.

I’m pleased to say that while I allocated a significant amount of time to the installation and testing of Zerto, I in fact used approximately 25% of the allocated time due to the crisp and clear design principles that the creators of Zerto have followed and how that carries over into the support I received while going through the installation process. I like to learn by seeing the product and testing (playing) with it before it goes live to make sure that I can navigate round the interface and get to grips with things. Its support team were a great help in facilitating that and offered key guidance on getting the base build in quickly before the fine tuning.

When you run IT estates you become familiar with taking on new software and assimilating how the user interface works and the often forgotten tasks of then maintaining the solution with the latest version. The interface in Zerto is so easy to grasp and configure, it took no time at all to learn and, when the regular upgrades are released, the upgrade process is easy to follow and causes minimal disruption. Again, the engineering team has really thought through how to get updates out with the minimum of fuss.

Can you tell me in more detail about what issues there were with the previous solution?

Before I used Zerto, the affordability of solutions offering the same level of protection and functionality were beyond the reach of most SMEs. I had negotiated a deal with the supplier of our SAN at our last refresh to bundle in the real-time replication on the Block side, so that I would have the ability to recover my VM estate in the event of a disaster. But after persevering and testing for a considerable amount of time, the results were unsatisfactory – replication compression algorithms were poor, reporting on the current replication status was difficult to discover (unlike Zerto which has a mobile app you can quickly look at to confirm all is well). Also, the ability to test that my VMs were recoverable to a specific point in time is difficult to achieve and some were doubtful that the test was in fact successful.

As the Head of IT of a SME, I don’t have endless time to work on my DR/BC solution. I need to be sure that the products I’m relying on are working and the process to recover is quick and easy. I don’t have a couple of days a month to spare on this with all the other pressures on my time.

How important to you was Zerto’s continuous data protection?

We are a professional services firm and therefore, downtime and disruption aren’t something the business tolerates. If we have an issue, we need to ensure that we have the ability to pick up exactly where we left off as quickly as possible and ensure the integrity of our data and databases. Having the confidence to tick that box with Zerto is a great feeling for anyone that has the heavy weight of Business Continuity on their shoulders.

How does the Zerto platform help in the day-to-day running of the business at TWM Solicitors?

With version 9 of Zerto, which has recently been released and we’ve upgraded to it, we’re hoping to start using their backup functionality more, using Azure as our repository for this data. Also, as our network evolves, we’ll be using Zerto to facilitate our migration to the cloud. Although on a day-to-day basis, having the comfort of being able to quickly glance at the mobile app and see that replication is running at under 10 seconds to our recovery site, gives you a warm feeling.

For you, what are the benefits of hybrid cloud?

For many businesses the ability and/or desire to move to the cloud aren’t always easy to justify for many reasons. Just as there are a wide variety of cloud types (IaaS, PaaS, DRaaS, BaaS, SaaS), as a business we need to evolve quickly sometimes, while at other times take a more measured approach to cloud adoption.

COVID brought many challenges to the legal industry and using a flexible approach facilitated by hybrid cloud has allowed the business to adapt quickly with minimal outlay. Many of the businesses that we now buy services from were born in the cloud and their whole ethos revolves around the hybrid model, so they are more accommodating with what we’re trying to achieve as a business.

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